Experiences Regarding Use and Implementation of Artificial Intelligence–Supported Follow-Up of Atypical Moles at a Dermatological Outpatient Clinic: Qualitative Study

Elisabeth Rygvoldt Haugsten, Tine Vestergaard, Bettina Trettin

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Background: Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly used in numerous medical fields. In dermatology, AI can be used in the form of computer-assisted diagnosis (CAD) systems when assessing and diagnosing skin lesions suspicious of melanoma, a potentially lethal skin cancer with rising incidence all over the world. In particular, CAD may be a valuable tool in the follow-up of patients with high risk of developing melanoma, such as patients with multiple atypical moles. One such CAD system, ATBM Master (FotoFinder), can execute total body dermoscopy (TBD). This process comprises automatically photographing a patient´s entire body and then neatly displaying moles on a computer screen, grouped according to their clinical relevance. Proprietary FotoFinder algorithms underlie this organized presentation of moles. In addition, ATBM Master’s optional convoluted neural network (CNN)-based Moleanalyzer Pro software can be used to further assess moles and estimate their probability of malignancy. Objective: Few qualitative studies have been conducted on the implementation of AI-supported procedures in dermatology. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate how health care providers experience the use and implementation of a CAD system like ATBM Master, in particular its TBD module. In this way, the study aimed to elucidate potential barriers to the application of such new technology. Methods: We conducted a thematic analysis based on 2 focus group interviews with 14 doctors and nurses regularly working in an outpatient pigmented lesions clinic. Results: Surprisingly, the study revealed that only 3 participants had actual experience using the TBD module. Even so, all participants were able to provide many notions and anticipations about its use, resulting in 3 major themes emerging from the interviews. First, several organizational matters were revealed to be a barrier to consistent use of the ATBM Master’s TBD module, namely lack of guidance, time pressure, and insufficient training. Second, the study found that the perceived benefits of TBD were the ability to objectively detect and monitor subtle lesion changes and unbiasedness of the procedure. Imprecise identification of moles, inability to photograph certain areas, and substandard technical aspects were the perceived weaknesses. Lastly, the study found that clinicians were open to use AI-powered technology and that the TBD module was considered a supplementary tool to aid the medical staff, rather than a replacement of the clinician. Conclusions: Demonstrated by how few of the participants had actual experience with the TBD module, this study showed that implementation of new technology does not occur automatically. It highlights the importance of having a strategy for implementation to ensure the optimized application of CAD tools. The study identified areas that could be improved when implementing AI-powered technology, as well as providing insight on how medical staff anticipated and experienced the use of a CAD device in dermatology.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere44913
JournalJMIR Dermatology
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 23. Jun 2023


  • AI
  • CAD
  • FotoFinder
  • Moleanalyzer Pro
  • TBD
  • artificial intelligence
  • computer-assisted diagnosis
  • dermatology
  • diagnostic tool
  • implementation
  • interview
  • melanoma
  • total body dermoscopy


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